Whether caring for you in a hospital or fixing the toilet in your home, the people doing the work need the occupational licenses they are not getting right now from the state. The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, the agency in charge of approving the licenses, has been suffering from a backlog for close to a year. Rep. Joel Kitchens says his office is working with 13 cases of people trying to get the necessary paperwork to start positions. Door County Medical Center President and CEO Brian Stephens wrote in a letter to Governor Evers’ office that they have three nurses who have been waiting for their licenses since May, preventing them from working despite being licensed in a different state. This has caused the hospital to either work short-staffed or hire agency personnel at a higher expense. Stephens added that with the current nursing shortage, the situation is “expensive, dangerous, and unnecessary.” Kitchens, who is also on the Board of Directors for Door County Medical Center, says other occupations are experiencing similar issues.
Rearranging current staff within the department, hiring limited-term employees, and bringing more people back into the office are some ways Kitchens hopes the issue is addressed. The department currently has close to 30 vacancies and is transitioning from Secretary Dawn Crim to Deputy Secretary Dan Health as its leader.